Note from the Creator
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
― Eric Hoffer
This website is a product of my desire to help my children (two daughters) see the world clearly. The books are my interpretation of the tools they need and might enjoy to help them achieve this. As parents, we all have a different idea of what it means to be educated. The content in my books includes topics I want my children to understand. I know that not everyone will share my views and/or perspective, and that is ok. The reason I decided to publish these books is because I wanted to make them available to like-minded people.
My Statement of Faith
I am not a Christian. Neither am I an Atheist. I am one of those people who are intensely fascinated with religion and greatly admire those who practice it. I have gone through an age of criticizing it as controlling and harmful and have come to a place where I genuinely believe that it can be a force of good in the lives of individuals.
I decided to include the evolution of religion in the Big History series because religion plays such an enormous part in the world. I believe that refusing to understand its origins and its significance is negligent.
My goal for the learning tools I develop is to create context. I know from experience that life does not play out in isolated subjects, but that art blends with cooking, that history blends with religion, and geography blends with culture. I often get questions about why my Canadian series is so science heavy. The reason is that I consider geography an applied science - science applied to location.
While there are no hands-on experiments in my world series, this is because I want the experimentation to start taking place in the mind. I want to challenge my children to think about things that are outside of their realm of experience, and help them talk through it.
Big picture learning is based on understanding. The books I create are based on my own attempt to understand the subject matter and follow a linear path through the available material. No learning tool, especially not one limited to 100 pages or less, can encompass all that is known about a specific region or the history of the world. Life is too complex. If you feel that I have left something significant out, please supplement this yourself.
If you need the clear direction and guidelines that often accompany curriculum, these tools will likely frustrate you. My goal is not to develop curriculum. The intention is to offer a path, with no barriers for further exploration, that can be followed on a learning journey. If your child is excited about something, feel free to pursue it further than I have taken it. All learning tools are limited, but learning and curiosity should not be.
No Answers in the Back
While our Canadian series does include answers in the back, our tools for higher ages do not. This is intentional. I believe that learners have to find answers for themselves, feel the doubt of uncertainty, and develop strategies for alleviating that doubt. My hope is that they will develop an understanding of how complex the world is, that simple answers that make us feel safe and secure in our opinions are almost never an option, and that some questions have no answers.
My goal is also not to influence a child's perspective and feelings on a topic. I want to present them with facts and information and allow them to form their own conclusions and feelings based on the subject matter.
Videos that are included in the material were not custom made. I rely on what is available on YouTube as well as all the documentary subscriptions that are currently available to supplement learning and deepen understanding. Sometimes a 10 minute video can explain a topic far better than an hour of reading text.
Videos are also meant to make the books more enjoyable and exciting for kids. Not all the videos will be equally exciting or interesting for all kids. You are welcome to omit videos you find inappropriate or unhelpful.
Use of Specialists
I decided to use specialists in creating The Great World Adventure. I wanted the books to reflect the attitude and experiences of a local person and not impose my own from the outside. Having said that, even specialists have their own perspectives on their culture, and sometimes even agendas. I try to remain as free of these as I can, and make an effort to include multiple perspectives.
Considering the scope that these books encompass, there is no way to be an expert in all fields addressed in these learning tools. While I have taken great pains to ensure accuracy, you are welcome to contact me if you feel that something has been misrepresented. I am open to feedback.
To give you some context, I am not a publishing house or large corporation. I am a native South African and recent Canadian immigrant. English is not my first language. I am very aware of the challenge this presents in writing educational tools for first language speakers. I am not blind to these limitations, and I do care deeply about grammatical accuracy. I have worked with a several editors/proof-readers to assist me in this, but perfection is elusive.
I hate that the linguistic errors in these books can become a learning obstacles, but as long as I don't know about the errors, I cannot fix them. I also find it hard to see them myself. The books are a work in progress, and I typically have them proofread and improved every year.
Errors bother some people more than others, and everybody has their limits as to what they feel is acceptable. I appreciate all the feedback and make corrections as soon as I am made aware of them. Thank you to all who have taken the time to contact me regarding mistakes.